Sports conservation clubs view point has been at last endorsed by the changed central wildlife policy. This indeed is a positive step towards the prolonged man animal conflicts across India in general and the state of Jammu & Kashmir in particular. The change in the central policy is based on crop losses mainly. But our state is engulfed by gravest of the problems compared to other states of the country. It is worth mentioning here that the govt of India has decentralized the wildlife policy and asked the states to formulate changes in the wildlife acts according to their own requirements. As everybody is aware that our state is facing worst man animal conflict which has consumed more than 800 human lives and over 4000 serious injuries besides loss of crop and livestock across the state especially in Jammu & Kashmir provinces. This problem is a gift to our state by the wrong policies of the higher official wildlife department and to a large extent by the proclaimed wildlife and NGO experts.
For past two decades we have been advocating for scientific culling of the animals that are in conflict with the man i.e. mainly black bear. The beast is a pest in our state. All the animals and birds are territorial who drive out their own off springs from the areas dominated by them. The unfortunate amendments in 1978 state wildlife act are the main causes of man animal conflict because we only need 25% of bear population in our state no doubt black bears are necessary in our ecosystem but at the same time they are the biggest destructors of their own habitat. Five states have declared monkey,neilgay and wild boar as vermin's but the animals here are pest like black bears and jackals.
Apart from man animal conflict state has lost six out of nine wetland reserves due to wrong think tank in wildlife department and proclaimed experts & NGO's which has recently shown its results in 2014 devastating floods. Both the above mentioned problems were addressed in 1978 act.
We would like to give some valuable suggestions to ministry forests for forests:
1. Revoke 1978 act with necessary changes.
2. Solid bunds around the wetland reserves to ensure round the year water availability.
3. Controlled culling of black bears and jackals population by 75% of the current number.
4. Demarcation of the wetland reserves at the earliest.
5. Constuctions of needle gates to control the water in wetland reserves.
6. Making plantation drive around government lads and forests compulsory for all schools and government employees twice a year so that our lost forests are regenerated.
Small game scientific hunting which used to minimize the number of exceeding population of black bears ,jackals,neilgay and bar headed geese besides the well being of our wetlands which were bound to be maintained at all costs. Apart from this migratory birds which visit the valley are the first carriers of N1H1 flu from different parts of the world. As the centre has given nod to the states to cull their required vermin animals and revoke the state wildlife acts according to their needs for minimum of one year but we would like to take more scientific and long lasting approaches i.e. we can tag the number of animals and regularize their hunt by tourists from within the country and abroad. This will not only control and protect our ecosystem but also will help the economy of the state, local youths who can be employed in the process of scientific culling by local residents, national and international tourists. As post 1990 the state can open up a new tourist activity for winter months. we have the best example of our neighboring country Pakistan who tag certain animals like Markhor at the rate of rupees 80 lakh per head out of which only half of the amount is spent on the welfare of the same animal and rest is being spent on the locals welfare where the animal is being hunted this makes the locals main ward and watch for the hunted animals as well as most endangered species around in their area.
Ban on hunting, which have been in force in some countries for decades have not been able to halt this long term trend.Infact these have had the opposite effect. If the value is taken away from the wild game. the local population no longer has any interest in protecting wild animals. These are the observations made by world renowned experts as well as recommendations of famous sir Edinburg declaration 2004(Hunting is a tool for sustainable rural development).having said so the bans are least helpful as poachers get a free hand to kill the precious wildlife species not only by the barrel of the gun but maximum killings occur by silent killings, by the way of trapping and poisoning etc.We hope the govt of the day will immediately wake up and revoke 1978 act with required amendments.